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Civil Engineering

Colorado State to upgrade engineering program


In CSU's new curriculum, a higher emphasis will be placed on team collaborations. In CSU's new curriculum, a higher emphasis will be placed on team collaborations.

Colorado State University recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to help revamp the school's engineering and computer science departments. According to the Coloradoan, the $2 million endowment will be financed over the course of five years. 

Curriculum updates will be interdisciplinary
The Denver Business Journal reported that the grant, which was bestowed upon six U.S. colleges, will be put toward completely restructuring CSU's electrical and computer engineering curriculums. While the school currently operates on a standard, one-subject-per-class model, they will be using the money to implement a more integrated, non-traditional approach to learning these subjects. 

Engineering students will be taught industry practices in conjunction with other subjects to get a more well-rounded idea of how their major can be applied to "real-world" professions and situations. For example, the source noted that the school is already planning to roll out a course that features both engineering and calculus.

A CSU press release indicated the new approach to engineering education will also provide students with more hands-on opportunities and will focus on learning and working in team settings. The school is excited to revamp its engineering program, which it believes has been alienating bright, passionate students due to its outdated structure and lack of clear real-world applications. 

"The new initiative will also affect staff members."

Faculty structure receives overhaul
In addition to changing the program for students, the new initiative will also affect staff members. The National Science Foundation will implement new processes for how CSU's engineering faculty is evaluated, and provide updated incentives and rewards for outstanding instructors. Professors from across related disciplines will also be working together more closely than in the past in order to create more cohesive, varied curriculums. 

Professor Tony Maciejewski hopes the reorganization of faculty will help students learn more efficiently than they are in the current structure. 

"A student goes to the math department for calculus, then to the physics department, then here for their circuits class. Nobody makes the connections between those three things. And chances are those three faculty will not talk to each other and don't know what the others are teaching. There is not enough coordination," he said in a release. 

Additionally, the updated program will place a higher emphasis on subjects outside the realm of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, noted the Denver Business Journal. By adding more courses that focus on professional communication, teamwork and ethics, CSU hopes to provide its graduates with more competitive skills sets.